Love 'em or loathe them, missions form a large part of the EVE-playing experience. Whether you are grinding missions for a Navy ship offer or just passing time waiting for corporation members before embarking on a mining expedition, chances are you will run a fair few missions during your career.
Missions can be an important source of ISK and minerals; but, in addition to these benefits, the associated corporation and faction standing changes also have a significant role to play in the current game mechanics. You may get special treatment if you are favored by a certain faction, or get shot on sight if you let your reputation drop too low.
Even if mission running can be a very lucrative occupation, a pilot has to constantly keep in mind there are still risks and underestimating the dangers may lead one to quickly lose a ship. The purpose of this guide is to prevent this from happening by not only describing the base mission mechanics, but by also providing some advice in the same vein.
Types of Missions
There are four types of mission agents available. Each one of these agents provide their own specific type of mission.
Security agents offer encounter, or kill, missions. These missions require ship captains to fly to a location and destroy some or all of the ships or structures found there. There are currently two types of encounter missions: those located in deadspace pockets (a.k.a. 'dungeons') where you warp to an acceleration gate prior to engaging with the NPCs, and those where you warp directly to a particular engagement.
Distribution agents offer courier and trade missions.
Courier missions entail moving goods from one station to another. These goods may be specific sealed cargoes or common market commodities. You may need to make multiple deliveries across many systems using an industrial transport ship, or the delivery may be able to fit into the hold of a frigate and only involve a quick visit to the next system. Level 2 distribution missions will require up to 450m3 of cargo space (easily handled in a Probe with cargo expanders), level 3 distribution missions will require up to 4,200m3, level 4 distribution missions will require up to 8,000m3.
Trade missions differ from the courier ones as they need a pilot to provide the agent with the goods requested in the mission briefing. These goods need to be purchased (or produced/acquired) by the pilot and delivered to the destination station.
Research Agents provide research points that can be redeemed for data cores. Running missions for these agents increase your research point payout for a short period of time.
- Storyline missions: After every 16 regular missions completed you will be offered a storyline mission. These will be one of the regular mission types but differ by having a significant impact on your faction and corporation standings. The initial 16 missions can be completed for any agent, as long as those agents are aligned with the same faction and are at the same level as each other. The number of missions is not altered or reset by rejecting or failing an accepted mission.
- Cosmos missions: Most of the Cosmos missions may only be done once, but they provide unique rewards and give a significant boost in standings. However, pilots have to find Cosmos agents inside complexes to receive such an offer.
- Epic Arc missions: Epic mission arcs are composed of a series of branching missions that present the player with choices. These choices will determine how the Epic Arc concludes. These missions also increase your faction standing considerably.
Agents are distinguished by their level, location, corporation, and division. Most agents are located in stations, but there are some agents that are found in space.
Level: The higher the agent level, the harder the missions. For combat missions this means that for level 1 agents you will face Frigates; with level 2 agents you will mostly fight Frigates but with some Cruisers added; at level 3 you will see mostly Frigates, Cruisers and Battlecruisers. Level 4 agent missions will see you face off against everything from Frigates to Battleships.
For courier missions, this means larger deliveries and more jumps and mining missions involve much larger quantities of ore.
Corporate division: Each agent belongs to a corporate division. The agent's division determines the type of mission they will offer.
- Distribution (Courier missions)
- Mining (Mining missions)
- Security (Combat missions)
- Research (Research and Development)
Finding an Agent
All NPC corporations have agents. Agents working for corporations loyal to CONCORD, InterBus, or the Jovian Directorate are unavailable for now; however, all other agents are available to anyone who meets their standings requirements. Agents can be found using the Star Map. This is perhaps the easiest way for new players as it shows you all agents currently available to you throughout the EVE universe. On the Star Map control panel, there is a tab labeled "Star Map". Under this tab is another tab labeled "Stars". In this tab, you may select "My Information" and then "My Available Agents". Doing this will change your map so that any systems that have agents you can use are colored green. Hovering your cursor over these star systems will list the available agents along with their respective corporation, level, and division.
Agents can also be found in a corporation's info window. There, you can navigate to the “Agents” tab to view all of the corporations' agents and whether or not they are available to you. More information about this can be found in the Finding a Better Agent section below.
Interacting With Your Agent
After finding an agent, you must travel to the station that they are based in. When you dock at their station, click the "Agents" tab in station services and double click on the agent to start a conversation with them. The agent will greet you somewhat morosely and offer you a mission.
When an agent offers you a mission, it will appear under "Agents > Missions" in your NeoCom Journal, which you might want to keep open during missions. Double-click on the journal entry and you will get a more detailed explanation of the mission such as your task, the promised reward, the bonus (if any), and the time frame for completion to claim the bonus.
All mission offers expire 7 days after they have been offered. Missions expire 7 days after the offer has been accepted. Refer to your NeoCom journal to double check missions' expiration deadlines. Expired mission offers don't count against you in any way; however, an accepted mission must be completed. If you accept a mission and let it expire, or report back to your agent that you failed to complete it, then you will suffer a standing loss.
You can reject a mission offer once every 4 hours on a per-agent basis. This is a good way to get rid of a mission offer that drives you into lo-sec systems that you may not want to risk. Remember also that since agent missions are given at random there is a chance, however small, that you may end up being offered the very same mission the next time you talk to the agent. If you reject an offer earlier than 4 hours after your last rejection with the same agent, you will incur a standing loss. This loss of standing may mean that you no longer qualify to receive missions from that particular agent again until you've raised your standings back up.
When you accept the mission, the agent will confirm your reply and expect you to report back when the mission objective has been met. To report completion of a courier mission, you can contact the agent from the destination station. To report completion of a combat mission that doesn't require you to bring any items back to the agent, you can contact the agent from any other station. To report completion of a combat mission that requires you to bring certain items back to the agent, you need to be in the same station as the agent and have the requested items either in your cargo hold or in your hangar. If you happen to have the requested non-specific items in your hangar at the agent's station, the combat mission can be reported without you being physically present at that station.
Some missions require the deposit of collateral as insurance for the items that your agent entrusts to your care until you have achieved the mission objective. Make sure that you have enough money in your wallet to cover the collateral. When you achieve the mission objective and report back to your agent, they will refund the collateral without interest.
Getting to a Higher Level Agent
There's always a time where you will want something bigger, more challenging, or just better rewards for your missions. As the mission level depends on the agent level, you will need higher level agents when you want to get harder and more rewarding missions.
Higher level agents are accessed by meeting standing requirements with the agent's corporation or the corporation's faction. Higher level agents won't EVEmail you or contact you in any way when they become available; you will have to check the agent's standing requirements manually. This can be done by opening the show info window of the corporation you are running missions for under the "agents" tab.
If the agent that interests you is not yet available, you need to raise your standings with the agent's corporation by running lower level missions for the corporation in question. There are several skills that make it easier to acquire good standing with a corporation. See the Helpful Skills section below for further information.
Remember that missions of higher levels can be much harder and that you should prepare properly or bring wingmates to be sure to succeed.
Standings affect many features in the game. At the simplest level standing controls which agents you have access to. Beyond this, standing impacts upon a pilot's access to jump clones, their ability to anchor Player-Owned Structures in Empire space, amounts of minerals lost in the refining process, and a whole host of costs including sales taxes, research, and factory costs.
Furthermore, if you have -5.0 standing or below with a given faction, you run the risk of being attacked by their navy when entering their space. You can view your faction, corporation, and agent standings via the "Liked By" and "Disliked By" tabs under your "Standings" section on your character sheet. Agent availability is dependent on your corporation and faction standing, each agent requiring you to have a certain standing to be able to work for them. The standings you need for a particular agent can be found on their "Agent Info" tab under "Mission Services".
There are three different levels of standings. The more widespread a standing is, the harder it is to increase it:
- Agent: such standings only work for a single agent. Every time a mission is completed you receive personal standings with the agent who offered it to you as well.
- Corporation: these are your personal standings toward an NPC corporation, and not your own corporation standing toward another NPC. Corporations contain numerous agents and by increasing standings with them you will be able to access more agents inside them. Such standings may be augmented by missions.
- Faction: faction standings remain the most general but most difficult type of relationship to increase. Each faction possesses numbers of corporations inside it, so if you raise your faction standings you will be able to access all corporations linked to it. Faction standings may only be augmented by storyline, COSMOS, or Epic Arc missions.
As you can see, it is a lot more beneficial to have high faction standings, as you can directly access all corporations and all agents under that faction by doing so, instead of increasing the corporation standings one by one.
An interesting note about agents: most people relate an agents "Required Standing" to the standing one must have for that agent's corporation in order to access that agent. This is not entirely true. Because of the "corporate-wide" structure of standings many people assume this and forget about the agents personal standings toward you. You can raise standings with a particular agent fairly quickly by fleeting up with someone who can access that agent and who is willing share mission rewards with you (including standing increases). This way you don't have to grind level 2 and level 3 missions for a corporation in order to get access to that agent. This, of course, will only work for that particular agent, and not for all agents in the corporation.
When you complete a mission you will get a base standing increase, which will depend on the perceived difficulty of the mission. This base number is used to calculate the agent and corporation standing increase and is modified by how high you've trained your "Social" skill level.
To view the exact increase, go in your character sheet, then browse through the "Liked By" tab under your "Standings" section. There, right-click on the corporation or faction you want to check and select "Show Transactions". The agent and corporation standing increase is stated as a percentage value. This is not simply added to your current standing, rather it defines the percentage change between your current standing and the maximum or minimum available standing.
You will receive agent and corporation standing losses if you fail to complete a mission or you let the mission timer run out. You will also receive a similar standing hit if you reject more than one mission per four hours. So always be sure when canceling an assignment or you'll suffer more than just ISK/loss.
When you complete storyline missions, you will receive standing gains to the storyline agent's corporation and the faction that the corporation is aligned with (the primary faction). You will also receive standing gains to other factions friendly to the primary faction, as well as standing hits to factions hostile to the primary faction.
While the standing gains to the primary faction will continue to rise as long as you complete their storyline missions, the impact on friendly and hostile faction standings is limited by their standing towards the primary faction.
Here are approximate formulas to manually guess the raw modifications of standings:
- Standing increase:
NewStandings = CurrentStandings + (10 - CurrentStandings) * (Modification% / 100)
- Standing decrease:
NewStandings = CurrentStandings - CurrentStandings * (Modification% / 100))
Where CurrentStandings is the faction, corporation or agent standings before the modification and Modification% os the raw number listed in your "Show Transactions" window. Note that these formulas are only an approximation; as there are other parameters included for standing modification calculations, like skills.
Bad Standings Impacts
While it is possible to have good standings with agents, corporations, and factions, it is also possible to have negative standings with them. You should take note that you will receive faction standing hits when you destroy certain ships belonging to those factions no matter if you engage them in missions or not. Many pilots choose to avoid these 'faction kill' missions to help preserve their faction standings.
Before the Dominion expansion, negative standings had a huge impact when they fell below -2.00. If an agent's standing with you was -2.00 or lower, the agent would not talk to you. If a corporation's standing with you was -2.00 or lower, no agents in that corporation would offer you missions. A faction standing of -2.00 or lower would mean that you would not be able to get any missions from any of that faction's agents. This caused many people to fall into a sort of standings 'black hole', where a players standings with a faction was so horrible there was no hope in raising them since they could not get agents from that faction. The only way to have raised standings with that faction was to either run storyline missions for other factions friendly to the target faction, or fleet up with somebody and share standings until yours were high enough to allow access.
This 'black hole' was fixed with the Dominion expansion. Now you are able to run missions for any level 1 agent regardless of your agent, corporation, or faction standings. This gives players a chance to fix bad standings, while also restricting access to the more rewarding agents.
A faction standing of -5.00 or lower will result in that faction's navy vessels attacking you on sight when you enter their sovereign space. Note that faction navies aren't Concord. Concord, the official police force, only intervenes if a criminal act is achieved in high-security space (ie: engaging another pilot without kill rights), and it's possible to get away from the navy forces (whereas it's considered an exploit to get away from CONCORD).
Recovering Bad Standings
There are a number of ways to fix bad standings. The simplest and recommended way is to start running missions for a level 1 agent in the affected faction. Or you could train the "Diplomacy" skill. The third option is to run missions for a faction friendly to the affected faction and receive derived standing gains from storyline missions. This option is very time consuming, since derived standings are just that -- derived. You won't get the full standing increase to the affected faction from storyline missions of the friendly faction, and storyline missions themselves take 16 regular missions to obtain.
So, it is up to you if you want to push some standings to +10.00 (maximum limit) by running missions for the same faction, or prefer to stay versatile by switching to enemy factions to keep a balance in your standings.
One of the main reasons people run missions is for financial gain. Through mission rewards, bounties, loot, and Loyalty Points, you can make mission-running a highly profitable experience. The level of rewards are derived from a number of factors, including the level of agent you are working for, the quality and effective quality of that agent, your security status, and the system's security level. Basically, mission rewards stay far more profitable in low and 0.0 security space than in high-security zones.
That said, mission rewards are not fixed. There is a dynamic algorithm in place that averages out the time it takes to complete each mission, so that the longer a mission takes the greater the rewards offered. The agent system automatically determines a mission's difficulty based on the average mission time, thus any two missions that generally take about the same amount of time to complete will give roughly the same level of rewards from the same agent.
The most obvious return on a mission is the base mission pay. This is the first ISK figure you see on the agent's offer and will vary greatly depending on the aforementioned factors. The second main reward is the bonus that you will be awarded if you complete the mission in a specified time. The bonus reward can be either cash or trade goods that the agent's corporation sells on the market.
For kill and encounter missions, you will also receive income in the form of pirate bounties and loot. In many circumstances, the bounties from kill missions greatly outweigh the agent's rewards for the mission itself. Not all ships have bounties, however. The main faction navies drop tags which can be traded for ISK or used for offers in the LP Store.
Encounter missions usually have you zipping around several structures. Sometimes these structures will drop loot when destroyed, including implants, rare skillbooks and other items. It is best to review mission notes for each mission to see which structures have a chance to drop items and pop only those, leaving the rest untouched.
Finally, all non-storyline agents also offer Loyalty Points (LP) for completing missions. The amount of points you get is mission specific, modified by the agent's base quality, the agent's solar system security rating and your present skill levels in the relevant divisional connections skills. Theses points may be used on the LP Store, offering unique items related to the faction you are working for.
Loyalty Points (LP) can be one of the most valuable rewards from running agent missions. As soon as you begin to run missions for a particular NPC corporation, you will start to accrue Loyalty Points and gain access to the corporation's store.
LPs are associated with particular NPC corporations, so running missions for any agent from a particular corporation will increase your stockpile of LPs. The Store may be accessed by clicking the appropriate service button while docked at a station belonging to the corporation in question.
As soon as you gain access to the store you can see the full range of offers available from that corporation, along with the requirements for each. Each offer may require some combination of ISK, LPs, built items and dogtags.
Built items requested are generally the Tech I version of whatever you're attempting to buy, while dogtags are a general requirement for many offers from the four Empires, and can generally be collected from the wreckage of ships from hostile Empires during missions. Be warned, carrying such tags in the space owned by the faction you obtained them from is illegal and may get your ship destroyed.
The wide range of offers and possibilities in combination with EVE's dynamic market make picking and choosing offers for maximum profit something of a black art, but in general you should aim to earn around 1000 ISK for each LP you spend. Of course, if you're simply buying items for your own collection, your own measures may apply.
Low vs. High Security Systems
The security level of the system in which you are running missions greatly affects the rewards you receive. You will receive higher mission payouts and greater LP amounts the lower the system security level. The highest quality level four agents are all located outside of secure Empire space.
While the rewards of running missions in lower security systems are much greater, so are the risks. It is not unheard of for mission runners to be ambushed by groups of player pirates in low security space. Probes are used to reach mission runners with great efficiency, so always stay vigilant in such areas.
There are a small number of missions that may spawn a pirate faction ship as part of the target ships. These rare spawns will give significantly higher bounties and may also drop valuable faction equipment. Faction spawns have been confirmed on the level four missions Worlds Collide and The Blockade. The best place to find information on these is to visit the Mission chat channels in-game, or on the "Missions & Explorations" forums on the official EVE website.
The often-neglected 'Social Skills' are a mission-runner's best friend. Alongside the offensive and defensive skills required to be able to deal with pirate threats, and the ship skills to be able to transport goods, the social skills improve your access to agents and the rewards you receive from them.
Social Skills fall into two main categories; namely those relating to improving standings (which indirectly improves mission pay) and those that directly increase mission rewards. There are five skills relating to standings: Social, Connections, Criminal Connections, Diplomacy, and Negotiation.
The "Social" skill is the base skill for all the other Social Skills and must be trained to level three before you can train the others. As well as being the base skill, the Social skill improves the standing gains you receive for each mission you complete. Each trained level gives a 5% bonus to the base mission standing increase.
The next three skills all relate to agent, corporation and faction standings. Each level trained in these skills gives a four percent bonus to effective standing towards all relevant entities. The "Connections" skill relates to friendly entities (i.e. those with whom you have a positive standing); the "Diplomacy" skill relates to hostile entities (i.e. those to whom you have a negative standing); and the "Criminal Connections" skill relates to criminal NPCs (i.e. those with low CONCORD standing).
The description for the "Negotiation" skill states that it improves pay for agent missions by 5% - but it achieves this indirectly by altering the agent's effective quality.
As well as the skills that improve your standings, there are also nine other skills that improve the rewards you receive from missions: seven of these skills are the "Divisional Connections" skills while the other two are Fast Talk and DED Connections. The seven Divisional Connections skills improve your LP gain by 5% per level when working for agents in the related corporation divisions (see Divisional Connections - Related Skills table below). Each agent division can be affected by two different Connections skills, thus the amount of LP gained will increase by 50% if both are trained to level five. "Fast Talk" improves the pilot's effective Security Status increases, with each level trained giving a 5% bonus to effective Security Rating. The final skill is "DED Connections". Apparently this skill grants an additional 1,500 ISK bounty reward for each NPC pirate destroyed, but as it's not actually seeded in-game at the time of writing, its effect can't be confirmed.
Divisional Connection Skills
Each agent belongs to a agent division and each division has two related Divisional Connection skills as shown in the table below. These Divisional Connections skill books are only available through LP Stores or at high prices on the market. The increase to the mission LP offered can be calculated with the following formula:
Actual LP Reward = Base LP Reward x (1 + (0.05 x (Level of Connection Skill 1 + Level of Connection Skill 2)))
Incursion 1.5 replaces old connection skills with new skillbooks, as shown on the following table:
|Old Connection Skills||Skillbook Given|
|Distribution Connections||Mining Connections||Security Connections|
|High Tech Connections||X|
Having effective skills and equipment matter little if you have no experience on mission running. This section will provide a ship pilot with some basic and logical advices to survive when attempting to do missions.
- Agent criteria: Training the relevant social skills as soon as you can is a must for serious mission runners. Following this, probably the next most important thing to do is find a good area to work in, preferably one where there are several agents available to you. This way, even if you have to turn down missions for one agent, there will still be alternatives available to you. However, another important factor seriously limits the agent area option, which remains how crowded a system is. It is a well-known fact that some systems are more populated than others and trying to run missions there stays very risky as you might have lag and lose your ship. Trying to work for an agent in a quiet system stays a very good option to avoid troubles.
- Mission location: It should be noted that encounter missions are always located within the same constellation as the agent offering the mission (3 jumps away at most), and that courier missions can take you anywhere up to eight jumps away, including pickups and deliveries in different regions.
- Maximizing courier runs: When running courier missions, try and find an area spread over a number of systems with several courier-type agents. You will find that you will get asked to make deliveries to systems where another of your agents resides, so that on completion of your mission you are already in a location to request another. This means you can usually travel without an empty hold, maximizing your per-trip profits. In courier missions, you actually have to be present at the station where you need to deliver the goods to, as it is no longer possible to ask someone else to do it for you.
- Buying mission objectives: In a similar vein, for those courier missions that require you to move general market items around, if those items are being sold at the destination station you can buy them off the market and complete the mission without actually moving any goods anywhere. This can't be done with specific named items such as sealed cargo containers, however.
- Safespot creation: It is worth having a look at the system scanner window when you're in deadspace missions to see where you are on the map. Most missions are randomly located in a solar system and some of the locations can prove to be ideal safe spots located way off the normal travel routes.
Know Your Enemy
On all but the easiest missions, the key to survival is information. You need to know what to expect on the other side of that gate to ensure you don't need to claim on your insurance and spend hard-earned ISK (and valuable mission time) refitting a new ship.
When your agent offers you a mission, check the mission description for an idea of who you will be fighting. If it's not clear what faction you will encounter from the text, there is usually a logo somewhere on the page that lets you know who will be waiting for you. If there are none, expect several or unknown factions at the same time in the mission.
Once you know who you will be facing, the next job is to know what you are going to be up against.
|Faction||Damage to deal||Damage to tank||Notes|
|Amarr Empire||EM, Thermal||EM, Thermal||Uses energy neutralizers|
|Angel Cartel||Explosive, Kinetic||All||Uses target painters, No clear damage type|
|Blood Raiders||EM, Thermal||EM, Thermal||Uses tracking disruptors, energy neutralizers|
|Caldari State||Kinetic, Thermal||Kinetic, Thermal||Uses ECM|
|Equilibrium of Mankind||Kinetic||Kinetic, Thermal|
|Gallente Federation||Thermal, Kinetic||Thermal, Kinetic||Uses sensor dampeners, defender missiles|
|Guristas Pirates||Kinetic, Thermal||Kinetic, Thermal||Uses ECM|
|Khanid Kingdom||EM, Thermal||Kinetic|
|Mercenaries||Thermal||All||No clear damage type|
|Minmatar Republic||Explosive, Kinetic||All||No clear damage type|
|Mordu's Legion||Thermal, Kinetic||Kinetic, Thermal|
|Rogue Drones||EM, Thermal||All||No clear damage type|
|Sansha's Nation||EM, Thermal||EM, Thermal||Uses tracking disruptors|
|Serpentis||Thermal, Kinetic||Thermal, Kinetic||Uses sensor dampeners, defender missiles|
|Thukker Tribe||Explosive, Thermal||Thermal||Uses defender missiles|
A common tactic is to warp to the mission area in a shuttle to see exactly what's there. This will give you invaluable intelligence and allow you to choose an appropriate ship and configuration. Some rats may attack the shuttle, but NPCs do not attack pods, so even if you lose the ship you won't need to activate a new clone.
General Combat Mission Hints
If you lose your own ship during a mission and you feel you will be unable to complete the rest of it, bookmark the location of your ship wreck before canceling the mission. NPCs do not attack pods, so resist the urge to warp away as soon as your ship is destroyed and take a second or two to bookmark the location before returning to the nearest station. Due to can persistence, your surviving equipment will remain in your can at the location, even after the mission has been canceled and the NPCs are gone. Just don't wait too long, as wrecks/containers will be destroyed after 1-2 hours.
Do not make the decision to cancel a mission lightly. Canceling a mission has an impact which can be far greater than the loss of surviving modules. Consider enlisting assistance to finish the mission. Keep in mind, it may take multiple storyline missions to make up for one Failed or Canceled mission.
Finally, always be wary when running missions after patches and extended daily downtimes as they can change significantly.
It is usually safer and faster to change ship sizes and types depending on the level of the combat mission you are attempting. Depending on skill, experience and preferences, several ship classes may be used on the same mission type. Bold ship is de facto default for the level. In some missions, the bold ship also represents the maximum ship size allowed through the gate.
|Mission Level||Primary Ship||Alternate Ships|
|Level 1||Frigate, Destroyer||Anything reasonably fast|
|Level 2||Cruiser||Assault Frigate (AF), Destroyer, Battlecruiser (BC), Heavy Assault Ship (HAC)|
|Level 3||BC, HAC||AF, Battleship (BS), Command ship (CS), Recon|
|Level 4||Marauder, BS, CS||BC, HAC, Combat Recon|
|Level 5||Group of players with Marauders, Battleships, Command ships , Logistics ships||-|
Knowing what you will encounter will dictate the set-up of your ship. The various online mission guides and resources are a fantastic source of information about ship configurations and tactics for missions. We strongly suggest reviewing these sites before starting, as well as keeping your own notes about what works for you (and what does not).
There are no right ships or fittings to use for missions, but there are certainly wrong ones. Players have their own preferences and skills, and different missions require different tactics and fittings. It is beyond the scope of this guide to discuss all possible combinations, but we will make a few suggestions.
With the current mix of missions, you can expect to encounter almost any enemy, from Angel to Serpentis, or even Concord and empire navies if you are working for pirate factions. You are not limited to the type of ships you would expect to encounter in the region's belts, so you need to be prepared to fight all opponents.
Your first step in fitting out your ship should be to identify the damage dealt by your enemy and fit the defenses you will need to survive against the attack. Next, load the appropriate offensive modules to obliterate them; your choice of tactics will determine the rest of your ship's fitting.
The nature of the mission will also affect the tactics you employ. If you have a regular-space "Kill" mission then you can easily control your warp-in distance and arrive at a suitable location for your setup. For "deadspace" encounters you may be deposited in the middle of a swarm of NPCs without the ability to speed out of trouble, so you will need to be able to tank the damage.
Don't be afraid of changing your ship set-up between missions, or even during one. Sometimes you need different damage resistances or different tactics to be able to complete a single mission. Also, the same can be said of the different stages of some missions. Taking this a step further, some dedicated mission runners have multiple ships, each one already set up for specific mission types. Rather than having to refit your ships for each mission, you can select a ready-configured vessel. This greatly decreases the turnaround time but is far from the cheapest option. Knowing what to fit and when to fit it is the key to successful and efficient mission running. Here is a chart with the four races advantages at mission running, as well as the most used mission running ships. That doesn't mean you can't use others if you so desire of course, that is only a matter of taste.
|Amarr||No/less reloading, good tanking (armor), efficient against Sansha, Blood Raiders.||Poor damage against all other factions, cap-intensive weapons.|
|Caldari||Missile ships, good shield tanking. Excellent sniping platforms.||Defensive missiles launched by NPCs reduce damage output.|
|Gallente||Drone ships, good damage with hybrid setups.||Drone management isn't that easy.|
|Minmatar||No capacitor used for weapons, great alpha strike, good mobility.||Mixed tanking slot layout.|
Sample of mission running ships:
|Amarr||Abaddon, Battleship||Excellent pulse laser platform against Blood Raiders/Sanshas. Excellent tank and damage.|
|Amarr||Apocalypse, Battleship||Good tank, excellent capacitor for steady uses.|
|Amarr||Absolution, Commandship||Excellent tank, good damage.||skill intensive|
|Caldari||Raven, Battleship||Missiles platform: no tracking, can switch damage, great range.|
|Caldari||Nighthawk, Commandship||Excellent tank, missile platform.||skill intensive|
|Caldari||Cerberus, HAC||Great mobility, long range missile platform.|
|Gallente||Hyperion, Battleship||Good hybrid platform, excellent tanking.||cap issues, weak against frigs|
|Gallente||Megathron, Battleship||Versatile ship with balanced offensive/tanking/drone capabilities.||cap issues, weak against frigs|
|Gallente||Dominix, Battleship||Drone ship: no tracking issues with drones, can switch damage, good range. Can also include hybrid weapons for increased DPS.|
|Minmatar||Maelstrom, Battleship||Excellent tanking, can switch damage type, good damage.|
|Minmatar||Tempest, Battleship||Good damage, good mobility.|
|Minmatar||Sleipnir, Commandship||Excellent tank, good mobility.||skill intensive|
When you arrive at an encounter in your perfectly set-up ship, it can be difficult to know what to attack and what to leave alone. Sometimes as soon as you arrive you will be instantly attacked by a number of NPCs.
In this case it is best to destroy these first before starting on any others. Once you have dispatched them, or if you are not instantly attacked, use the Tactical Overlay to identify separate groups of ships that are clumped together in the same general area. Select a single ship from a group and attack only this one, then wait to see which other ships attack back. Generally, only the rats from that group will aggro you back. Using this tactic can help to reduce unwanted cases of mass aggro.
It is also a good idea not to shoot structures or missile/gun turrets unless you are prepared to take on the whole deadspace area. Attacking such structures causes all ships in the pocket to target and attack you. You can also get the full attention of the enemy by "bumping" or running into certain structures.
In many of the higher-level missions, you will encounter "tackler" ships that will warp scramble and/or web you, preventing you from leaving the area or speeding out of enemy range, respectively. There are three tactics to deal with tacklers depending on your skills and confidence:
- Shoot the tacklers first: If you are not sure that you can tank all the damage that could be dealt, you will want to take out the tacklers first, allowing you to warp out should there be any major safety issues.
- Shoot the damage dealing ship first: Alternatively, if you are comfortable with your ability to tank out the damage, you can work on the large damage dealers first, thus reducing the overall damage you take and then move on to the smaller Frigate tacklers.
- Securing the escape: The final tactic is to fit Warp Core Stabilizers on your ship. Since the Revelations patch, theses will lower your targeting range and lock speed, as well as using a valuable low slot on your ship. Since this can severely impact the performance of your ship, this is the least recommended option.
Managing The Loot
Your approach to collecting loot will depend greatly upon your reasons for running missions. If you are purely after the bounty and LP payouts then, on many missions, you can chose to ignore the wrecks dropped by enemy ships and simply cash in the mission and move on to the next one.
On the other hand, if you are something of a pack rat, you will probably want to open every wreck in the hope of finding something special to sell or refine back at the station.
Since the Revelations patch, NPCs leave a wreck behind when they're destroyed. These wrecks behave in the same way as normal player-jettisoned cans and will survive in space for one up to two hours before imploding. However, you can directly salvage a wreck without first removing the loot, as it will be moved to a cargo container nearby.
The wreck 'lifetime' is not affected by closing the mission, which means that they will remain in space once you have told an agent that you have completed the work. When you close a mission, the structures and any remaining NPCs will vanish, but the wrecks will remain out there.
If the mission was in a Deadspace pocket, as most are, then the Deadspace also vanishes when the mission is turned in. Therefore, in order to return to the mission location, you must first bookmark each deadspace 'pocket' before turning the mission in; otherwise, the acceleration gate will disappear and you will have no way of getting to your wrecks. Once turned in, you can fit a Microwarp Drive for extra speed.
Some missions require you to deliver certain items that are dropped from the mission NPCs to the agent. Even if you are not collecting all loot drops, you will still need to locate the relevant wreck containing the mission objective. In missions where there are many drops, it can be a little tricky picking out the right one.
Be warned that in some missions, the required item doesn't drop from the convoy but from the last ship you destroy, so be sure to check all wrecks and containers before leaving the area.
- Pick-up truck: A common tactic for collecting loot is to use a tractor beam during missions to pull a jettisoned cargo container behind you as a trailer. When you open a wreck, you can move the contents to the trailer without filling up your own hold. When you have collected everything, you bookmark the location of the trailer can, close the mission and return to the can in a ship with sufficient cargo space to transport all the items. This can work very well in missions located near stations or gates, where you may want to ensure you get to keep all the best loot.
- Hauling ship: Another common alternative is to not bother collecting loot until all the NPCs are killed. Instead, you bookmark each area of space where wrecks are located and return in a specific loot-collection ship, fitted for speed and cargo space and with tractor beams to ease the collection. Incursion introduced the Noctis, a dedicated salvage ship, which is far and away the fastest option for salvaging and looting. Until you can afford this, Destroyer class ships work acceptably with their 8 high slots; the Gallente Exequror Cruiser also sees use. Battlecruisers are useful for low-sec, having 8 high slots, plenty of cap, large cargoholds when fully expanded, and enough tank to protect against casual ganking. The Hurricane can haul 2040m3 before rigs and containers.
- Loot focusing: A happy medium that some mission runners prefer is to ignore Frigate and Cruiser drops and concentrate on Battlecruiser, elite ships and Battleship drops. Again, when you pop one of these ships, tag the wreck to identify it as a wreck of interest to allow you to differentiate it from all other drops.
- Structures: Some of the structures in deadspace encounter missions also drop loot. These drops range from standard trade goods through to rare implants and skillbooks. Not every structure in a complex will drop loot, so it's best to do some research beforehand to know which, if any, structures to destroy.
- Saving ammunition: It's also worth noting that when destroying structures, using drones rather than missiles or turrets is generally preferred as they expend no ammo - in many circumstances the value of loot dropped from structures is worth less than the ammo spent destroying them.
Unfortunately, ship and cargo scanners do not work on structures, so you only get to figure out which of them drop items through trial and error or checking on common mission note sites.
So now you have collected all that loot, what to do with it? Many players keep the items they use on a regular basis (guns, launchers, ammo, drones, etc.) and sell the high-end named items. The rest are reprocessed, with the resulting minerals either sold or used to build more ships and ammo.
It is possible to share mission standings and reward if several pilots are forming a gang. When the mission is completed, the player who has started the mission will have to select the proper "me and my gang finished the mission" option in the agent window.
Common setups for groups include a dedicated tanker, a logistics/remote repair support ship and a dedicated damage dealer. By sending in the tank first and having them attack the spawns, you can protect the other ships and complete missions quicker. However, be warned as NPCs tend to change their primary target depending on the threat they perceive.
The presence of a second player's ship or drone can cause aggo to act diffrently then if you are flying solo. A ship or drone wandering into a group of non aggressed ships can cause the whole deadspace pocket to attack the triggering ship. You may be able to last out the damage, but in many circumstances this could be too much for an average tank.
Worlds Collide is well known for aggro problems. Also, if there are mission respawns, these tend to target the weakest ship present first. It is best, therefore, to try and ensure the tank receives all aggression to protect the supporting players.
Most encounter missions will have asteroids present as part of the scenery. These are regular asteroids and can be mined as if you were in a belt. For the most part you will only have Veldspar or other low-end ore, but some missions spawn large Omber, Gneiss or similar-quality rocks, even in high security Empire space.
It should be noted that while many combat missions have asteroids the mining missions only have the asteroids that are required for the mission and only the amount needed for the mission, also these asteroids are special mission ores that can not be used outside of mining missions. There used to be regular mineable asteroids in these missions but they were removed at one point.
It can be profitable to mine these, especially as you are likely to be the only miner present and the possibility of ore theft is very low. Further, it will be difficult for pirates or war targets to find if you if you're in a mission rather than a belt, giving a certain level of security.
If you remain mining for long enough, there's a strong chance that NPC pirates will come and have a sniff around. You will get spawns of the same type as you would in that system's asteroid belts. Therefore, if you are mining you should always be prepared to deal with NPCs, even in missions.
Last point: some asteroids are trapped and mining them is at your own peril.
Low Security Space
Generally, when you set up your ship for mission running you fit for facing local NPCs with the appropriate resists and damage types. While these fittings will work well on missions, they tend to be very poor PvP setups. Conversely, good PvP configurations tend to perform poorly as mission running ships. If you are mission running in low security space, you may want to review your setup to strike a balance between your NPC tank/gank configuration and the demands of PvP.
Always being aligned to a celestial object (e.g., a planet or moon), always checking local, leaving a container near the entrance of acceleration gates are good actions to take to prevent unfortunate encounters with pirating players.
- Loot Refining - Calculates the total value of your loot, and whether it is better to refine it into minerals or to sell it on the market.